Recent statistics suggest that during the pandemic, children made no academic progress while learning from home, implying that they lost an average of one full year grade level this past year. Around the world, educators are looking for ways to bring students back to in-person learning, but if they are in an area still challenged by the impact of COVID, they must consider the risk this might have on these children, their teachers, and their families.
In a study conducted in the Netherlands, results from national exams administered to school children before and during the pandemic evaluated the effect of school closures on students’ learning. Even with the “best-case” scenario present in this country (short lockdown, fair school funding, and world-leading access to broadband resources), this study revealed that students made little to no progress while learning from home, especially for students from disadvantaged homes.1
Even in countries not as hindered by COVID restrictions, grade schools and higher education alike are in desperate need of a solution that provides additional security, renews their focus on communication and engagement, and reduces the risks of other widespread infections, such as the flu.
Schools want to know how they can bring students back to in-person learning, while keeping them safe and protecting them from getting sick. Hundreds of students and teachers enter school buildings every day. Accurately tracking large volumes of people arriving at school is a daunting task. Temperature screening kiosks can meet this need and act as a first line of defense. Designed for completely unattended use, temperature screening kiosks can register temperature readings and confirm identities in just a few seconds, allowing access only to authorized students, teachers, and school staff.
Children as young as 4 years old can follow their parents’ instructions. Telling these children to have their temperatures scanned when they arrive at school is just another step in their daily routine. Parents tell their children daily: “Eat your breakfast, brush your teeth, and do your homework.” Adding temperature scanning and a security checkpoint to a child’s routine is a no-brainer if it protects them and the families who love them, as well as teachers and staff.
While a number of temperature scanning solutions are on the market today, temperature screening kiosks offer a wealth of advantages. Compared to these kiosks, manual temperature scanners are intrusive, less accurate and slower, whereas speed is critical in high-traffic areas near school entrances. Furthermore, they do not offer additional functionality beyond measuring temperature, such as identity verification and attendance tracking. And finally, there is the problem of staff having to operate the scanners at the various entrances and exits on and around the school campus.
In K-12 schools, a temperature screening kiosk can be used in a school security office to screen students’ temperatures, track attendance, and optimize security. When kids arrive at school, they walk up to a temperature screening kiosk, which automatically scans their temperature, verifies their identity, and records their presence without any physical contact. Children move quickly through the line, and stay two meters (6 feet) apart. When the kiosk is not busy checking a student’s temperature, verifying identity, and tracking attendance, it can serve as a digital signage or wayfinding screen. Students can see the campus map, check their class schedules, and view the daily lunch menu on the kiosk screen or on a larger monitor attached to the kiosk.
In higher education, a kiosk provides an additional level of security on campuses and in student dorms by denying access to those who do not belong there.
The vaccine is here and mask mandates have been lifted for some, so people may ask “Why do we still need to scan for temperature?”. The answer lies in prevention. COVID is a communicable respiratory disease that will be part of our lives for years to come, much like the seasonal flu. A telltale symptom of a respiratory infection is a fever. Temperature scanners detect fever in children, teachers, and school staff. If one child gets sick, it can quickly spread to his classmates. And right now, kids under the age of 12 are not eligible to receive the COVID vaccine.
Communication and engagement are impaired in today’s social climate. Just as we all miss the office “watering hole” or meeting our friends for lunch, students are suffering from the lack of social contact with their peers. A good example is the story of Kaylee, an honor student. She saw her grades plummet from As to Ds in just two short months of cyber school. Like many K-12 and university students, she developed clinical depression from the lack of social contact and is now in therapy. The costs to society in terms of Kaylee’s stunted potential to contribute her talents and the healthcare expense for her therapy and medication are immeasurable. And this is not an isolated incident: the problems are widespread among students. For years to come, educators will face additional challenges that will complicate students’ abilities to learn, such as increased anxiety, substance abuse, and hyperactivity — all symptoms of the trauma many students have lived through this past year.2
When students are reluctant to meet in person with others, a temperature screening kiosk that monitors students’ health can alleviate their fear of getting sick. In higher education settings, freshmen are often required to attend social events on campus. A kiosk can be used on campus to promote social events and have students sign up for them, thereby improving their mental health.
Last year as we approached the summer season, the number of COVID cases dropped. The same thing is happening this year. So who can dispute that the virus may reappear in large numbers again next fall and winter? COVID may crop up every year, like the flu. We need to protect students from this deadly illness, as well as similar contagious illnesses.
Temperature screening kiosks can protect everyone from exposure to many types of illness that have elevated temperature as a symptom. The Black Box BDS-8 Temperature Screening Kiosk in a standalone application is ideal for school temperature screening. It quickly detects an elevated temperature and can restrict access to the school for the affected child or staff member. When used in a managed application, the kiosk records attendance lists by registering a student’s face with facial recognition software. The kiosk can even alert a school staff member to call a child’s parent to come and pick up the child if he or she has a fever.
As we near the end of the pandemic, temperature scanners are still relevant. COVID will likely be with us for years to come, much like the seasonal flu. Booster shots may become commonplace as we move forward. But right now, children under the age of 12 are not eligible to be vaccinated. They are still at risk of contracting the disease. The BDS-8 Temperature Screening Kiosk can help everyone on the school premises stay well.
Now and beyond the next flu/COVID season, students and school staff can be confident that they are safe at school. Keep kids in school with the help of an automated temperature screening kiosk, such as BDS-8. Scan temperatures, confirm identities, keep attendance records, monitor who is present in your building, foster in-person communication, display digital signage, and more.
Interested in learning more about the Black Box BDS-8 Temperature Screening Kiosk? Go to: blackbox.com/BDS8